TODAY’S DAILY NUDGE asks our Fellows what Bible text has struck you lately and why. I’m not sure why we use a violent word like “strike” in such a context, perhaps from the imprint or impression that’s left from reading the verse. I went to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, Fourth Edition (yes, I still open a dead-tree dictionary, at times) to check the word, but the entry’s over an entire column long, and I didn’t want to take all that time checking the different meanings.
Long preface to get to my choice of text. Which is Hosea 8:11. I give it to you in the NLT, so you can feel the full flavor of the idea: “Israel has built many altars to take away sin, but these very altars became places for sinning!”
God gives us the means of forgiveness and — let it be mentioned here as well — for worship, and we take what he gives us and bend them to our own ends and likings, so that what was meant as a channel of grace becomes an engine of grief to his holiness and of growing guilt to our account.
All this because of the next verse, 8:12: “Even though I gave them all my laws, they act as if those laws don’t apply to them.” There seems to be a bit of correspondence here between the many altars and God’s many laws. Instead of rejoicing in and obeying the laws God has multiplied, the strong-headed in God’s family multiplies sins on altars of his own construction.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.